Greece's Tsipras calls referendum to break bailout deadlock | ReutersGreek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called a referendum on bailout demands from foreign creditors on Saturday, rejecting an "ultimatum" from lenders and putting a deal that could determine Greece's future in Europe to a risky popular vote.
After a week of acrimonious talks in Brussels, where Tsipras dismissed proposals from the lenders as "blackmail", the 40-year-old prime minister said parliament would meet on Saturday to approve holding a referendum on July 5.
Leadership requires difficult choices at times. Unfortunately, the Greek Prime Minister decided to punt on his leadership responsibilities by delegating what is a grave decision to the general public, who almost surely lack the details related to Greece's fiscal situation, the EU/ECB/IMF offer, and understanding of the consequences involved. At the same time, he has shown little urgency with the scheduling, as the Greek Parliament would meet to discuss a referendum to be held on July 5, which is after the June 30 deadline for Greece's IMF payment.
Even if the Greek Prime Minister believes his punt will give him absolution from the consequences should Greece wind up in arrears to the IMF, it won't. His inability to lead lends further explanation to the chaotic path he has taken over the past several months, which has eroded Greece's small leverage, undermined the good faith others had, and imposed the Greek people to a deepening economic contraction and banking system risks. At a time when Greece needs a leader, it has a Prime Minister who lacks leadership capacity. This only compounds Greece's already terrible situation.